The Palestinian PM’s trivial resignation

Khairallah Khairallah
Khairallah Khairallah
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Palestinian premier Rami Hamdallah resigned from his post as quickly as he was appointed. Whether it was a resignation or not and whether the resignation has been accepted or not, this is not the issue.

Yes, it is not the issue knowing that one must admit that Hamdallah possessed a minimum feeling of how important it is to maintain his dignity and present his resignation to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and go home without feeling remorse over the post he escaped from. The issue doesn’t lie here, it is a deeply-rooted Palestinian crisis and not a premier or a cabinet crisis. It’s a crisis resulting from being occupied with silly details instead of focusing on what matters - that is confronting the occupation in an effective way away from holding on to manifestations of authority that doesn’t really have any authority.

And so the resignation came two weeks after Hamdallah, principal of Al-Najah University, was appointed to replace Salam Fayyad, and it was finally accepted. Perhaps Salam Fayyad’s problem is that he empowered the premiership position. In addition to that, Fayyad became the major speaker to the international community regarding everything that has to do with Palestinian affairs and the citizens’ livelihood situation.

Salam Fayyad succeeded in reviving Palestinian institutions, and he gained the respect of the international community particularly the respect of global financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund a well as the respect of the American administration, European governments and everyone willing to help the Palestinians.

Salam Fayyad’s cabinet was the best thing that happened to the Palestinians

Khairallah Khairallah

He established the basis for state institutions that may one day see the light. This may be enough to push him towards resigning and thus replace him with an employee who just follows commands. This is what Rami Hamdallah refused. It seems that Hamdallah still has enough rationalism to realize that the premiership position doesn’t mean anything in the absence of the capability of practicing clear jurisdictions that come with the post.

In brief, someone normal who possesses academic competencies like Hamdallah hesitates to remain in the premiership position after realizing that what is required of him is to be a mere employee controlled by two prime minister deputies who on a daily basis remind him that there’s a Palestinian presidential system that only has place for one person to dominate.

Such a Palestinian development is surprising especially since Abu Mazen is someone who is well-known as a rational man and as someone who knows very well the nature of relations present between the national authority and the world’s financial institutions. He also knows well how much the international community holds on to having a premier like Salam Fayyad, a premier who is capable of providing the minimum level of transparency in Palestinian institutions and apparatuses and the minimum level of confidence in the latter’s mechanism of work. What’s more important than all of this is that the Palestinian president knows that an achievement called turning the West Bank into a non-repellent territory has been fulfilled. Although the Palestinian presidency is behind this achievement in some aspects, this achievement would not have been fulfilled if it hadn’t been for Salam Fayyad’s government.

A service to the Palestinian people

This achievement remains the best service that can be granted to the Palestinian people in their resistance of occupation and the latter’s aspirations represented in joining part of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It’s an exceptional achievement if we take into consideration that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government does not want a settlement of any kind because it believes that time is on its side and that settlement will convince the Palestinians that the option of an independent state cannot be achieved unless upon Israeli conditions.

It’s not too late to retreat from the mistake committed and thus admit that Salam Fayyad’s cabinet was the best thing that happened to the Palestinians and that what is required, as soon as possible, is to use the aid of the best Palestinian minds, whether political, economic or security ones, instead of counting on weak employees who are good for nothing other than obeying orders and saying yes.

In the end, great men don’t fear one another. On the contrary, a great man becomes greater with the presence of other great men especially when they work together. This is what the Palestinians currently need in this battle in which they confront a fierce Israeli cabinet that doesn’t believe in anything other than strengthening occupation and expanding settlement.

Again, it’s not important that Rami Hamdallah resigned. The man has his dignity and he has certain competencies that may benefit Al-Najah University. But the entire Palestinian issue linked to the cabinet and the character of the prime minister is something completely different.

There is a need for a political and an economic mentality at the same time. There’s a need for someone who has enough courage to admit that the Palestinian cause is no longer the Arab’s first cause especially after Iraqi events began in 2003 and after the sectarian divisions began to appear in the region and after the Iranian involvement in the war that the Syrian regime launched against its people according to sectarian issues.

There’s also a need to admit that the Palestinians have no other choice other than helping themselves and keeping away from the illusion of reconciliation with Hamas. Hamas when it is a wing in the Muslim Brotherhood is concerned with altering the nature of the Palestinian society and not with ending occupation. All it wants is to maintain its Taliban emirate in Gaza no matter the price. Hamas also waits until the West Bank falls in its hands at the right time. This is what Hamas is betting on. It’s a bet that has nothing to do with reconciliation or establishing a viable Palestinian state or achieving the rights of the Palestinian people.

What’s certain is that the Palestinian situation is difficult especially with the political deadlock. What’s more certain is that it’s not possible to confront difficulties by placing an employee in the premiership position and by placing an employee who only cares about satisfying the “president.”

It’s certain that Abu Mazen himself, who knows the meaning of this experience that he previously went through, will not accept this. If Abu Mazen accepts such a formula, he would not have resigned when he became premier when Yasser Arafat, the historical leader of the Palestinian people, was still president. Is there anyone willing to remember that phase in order to at least avoid falling in the mistakes of the very recent past?


Khairallah Khairallah is a Lebanese writer who has previously worked at Lebanon’s Annahar newspaper, he then moved to London and began writing political columns in Arabic language newspapers, including Al-Mustaqbal and Rosa El-Youssef.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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